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Texas' Uninsured Face Bankruptcy -- But Proposals Fail to Address the Core Issues

Posted By admin || 10-Aug-2009

According to an article in the Star-Telegram, Gov. Rick Perry is poised to fight national healthcare because he believes it is a violation of states' rights and could lead to "debt-inducing expansions of government." Instead he presented Washington with his own single state plan to treat the poor and uninsured. Being uninsured or underinsured causes many Americans to become burdened with medical debt, one of the leading causes of bankruptcy.

The article said:

"When Perry first pushed this concept to Washington in December 2007, he was effusive: "The financial cost of our plan is modest, but the social benefit will be extraordinary," Perry wrote to the Health and Human Services Department. "We can curb skyrocketing medical costs by transforming our system and creating the foundation for a healthier Texas."

"One little problem: The feds didn't buy the $691 million proposal, and that was while the Bush administration was still in charge. The Texas plan, a demonstration project that sought a federal waiver on Medicaid, didn't cover enough people, provide enough benefits or have enough funding. That pretty much sums up the difficulty of a single state solving the healthcare conundrum. The Texas proposal also capped annual benefits at $25,000 for parents, a low bar that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would never support."

Medical debt is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in Texas and nationwide. Many of those debtors filing bankruptcy have health insurance but still end up in bankruptcy because they are underinsured. It sounds like a health plan with only a $25,000 limit in benefits might actually lead to more bankruptcies especially amongst those diagnosed with a terminal illness or those who need expensive surgery. Whatever healthcare reform we choose, it must clearly address reducing medical debt and making sure Americans are not underinsured.

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